Monday, 28 December 2009

Media wrap - Waiting for a hospital bed in Queensland



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

Elective surgery wait shows health sector still unwell – Almost 200 Queenslanders have been waiting more than five years to have elective surgery. The 183 patients have conditions classified as "non-urgent" but under Queensland Health guidelines should still have had their operations within 12 months – Brisbane Courier Mail

Mentally ill face long wait in emergency care – Mentally ill Victorians who should be in psychiatric care spend up to four days in emergency departments because of a shortage of beds – Melbourne Age

Elections

Taxpayers 'funding Labor ads' - The Opposition is demanding tougher rules against using public money for political gain as the Government spends more than $10 million on TV advertisements and mass mail-outs to promote its performance in the sensitive areas of hospitals, schools, roads and public transport – Melbourne Age

Administration

Government covers mistakes with secret payouts – Secret hand-outs to cover up Federal Government mistakes or incompetence are costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Australian Government departments have authorised more than $5.5 million in confidential "act of grace" payments to citizens in the past two years, documents have revealed – Brisbane Courier Mail

Watchdog 'oblivious' to database flaw – The Government auditor says the communications watchdog was oblivious to a security flaw in the Do Not Call register database, which contains the phone numbers of nearly 4 million Australians. It also found that a better education program is needed to reduce the number of people on the list making complaints about getting calls the list cannot stop, such as from charities – Melbourne Age

Taxes

Tax shift urged to stub out smoking – Doctors are urging the State Government to seize control of cigarette taxes from Canberra and push up the price to $20 a pack.  A plan put forward by Victorian doctors aims to price smokers and children out of the deadly habit by doubling the cost of cigarettes over the next three years in line with recommendations of the Preventative Health Taskforce – Melbourne Herald Sun

Opinions

Labor stripped bare as defender of women's rights – Catherine Sheehan in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Women are swimming to Abbott – If new Opposition leader Tony Abbott has such a problem with women, how come I'm yet to meet a woman who has that problem with him? For heaven's sake, even Julia Gillard likes the guy writes Sally Morell in the Melbourne Herald Sun

Neglect of food sources has the chooks coming home to roost – Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald concludes that if Australia's population keeps growing at a rate of 1.2 million people every three years, and the Murray-Darling Basin continues to degrade, and the arid zone continues to expand, and cheap imported food continues to out-compete local product, Australia will become a net importer of food sooner rather than later. Hard to imagine, but inevitable on present trends.

Whatever happened to secular democracy? – asks Ross Fitzgerald in The Australian. Not only have we now got a devout believer as Prime Minister but the Opposition Leader is even more devout.

No victor in fight over inflammatory talkback - Alan Jones's legal case over anti-Lebanese comments has been lost, but inflammatory jocks might not change their tune, writes David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald

ENVIRONMENT

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd soft on Japanese whale slaughter – The Rudd Government has reneged on a promise to send an Australian ship to monitor Japan's annual slaughter of 1000 minke, humpback and fin whales – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Ferals in peril as croc prof calls for buff cull - Professor Grahame Webb, who owns Crocodylus Park in Darwin, said his 30-year research had shown an increase of the hard-hoofed animals. He said more resources should be put into land management to preserve the delicate ecosystem in the Top End – Northern Territory News

Radioactive waterfront home to be razed – New plans to clean up the site of a former uranium smelter in Hunters Hill mean a four-storey waterfront mansion the NSW Government has repeatedly declared safe will be demolished – Sydney Morning Herald

MEDIA

Schools cut cord in technology revolution – SA  high school classrooms will be completely wireless by the end of 2011. The hi-tech investment - part of the Rudd Government's $94 million Digital Education Revolution  - will allow students and teachers to use laptops and handheld internet devices from anywhere within the state's 165 public high schools – Adelaide Advertiser

LIFE

Law and order

Rumours of singing jailbird set legal tongues wagging – John Silvester in the Melbourne Age gives some fascinating gossip about goings on in Victoria’s criminal world.

Emma to become a faceless statistic - The kindness and talents of the pretty 12-year-old who had all her life ahead of her have touched hearts across Sydney. But soon she will be just a nameless, faceless victim. A little known law means that if her neighbour Renzo Da-Pra, 45, is charged with her killing, Emma cannot be identified. It also means her alleged killer's name is likely to be suppressed to further protect Emma's identity – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Gangs' casino dole scam – Crime gangs are using pensioners and the unemployed to launder millions in dirty money through casinos, authorities believe.  Centrelink has alerted organised-crime investigators to 15 clients it believes are involved. They are understood to include a Victorian man who bought almost $13 million in chips at Crown, despite being on the dole – Melbourne Herald Sun

ASIO eyes mystery group after attempt to buy sub – The spy agency ASIO has investigated a bizarre attempt by a mystery group to purchase a derelict former Royal Australian Navy submarine and take it back to sea – The Australian

The drink

Alcohol summit to sober up NRL - The NRL is visiting each of the 16 clubs, asking players for advice on how best to deal with the issue of alcohol abuse. A brainchild of the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Fun police kneejerk to spoil NYE - The mindless actions of relatively few, mostly young, revellers in years past means tens of thousands of sensible, responsible drinkers will be banned from bringing wine and other alcohol to many of the best vantage points around Sydney Harbour – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Boozy New Year's Eve crowd in Melbourne feared - A CBD residents' group is worried police and security will struggle to control the amount of alcohol drunk by revellers scattered across the city on New Year's Eve – Melbourne Herald Sun

Retirement

Tidal wave of retirees threatens to break the bankAustralia is on the crest of a demographic tsunami, with the first wave of 5.3 million baby boomers eligible for the age pension from next week – Brisbane Courier Mail
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